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April 21-22

Commencement Weekend in Washington D.C.

Commencement Ceremony
(All Graduates)
Friday, April 21

EagleBank Arena
4500 Patriot Cir,
Fairfax, VA 22030

Check-in Time: 3 pm
Ceremony Time: 4 pm 


Alumni Celebration 
Friday, April 21

National Air and Space Museum
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151
6:30-9:30 pm EST 

Convocation Ceremonies
Saturday, April 22

EagleBank Arena
4500 Patriot Cir,
Fairfax, VA 22030

College of Business & College of IT
Check-in Time: 8:30 am
Ceremony Time: 9:30 am

Leavitt School of Health & School of Education
Check-in Time: 12:30 pm
Ceremony Time: 1:30 pm

College of Business & College of IT
9:30 am EST / 8:30 am CST / 7:30 am MST / 6:30 am PST

Leavitt School of Health & School of Education
1:30 pm EST / 12:30 pm CST / 11:30 am MST / 10:30 am PST

Washington D.C. Commencement Deadlines:

Washington D.C. Details:

Alumni Celebration in Washington D.C.

Friday, April 21, 6:30-9:30 pm, ET

Kick off your commencement weekend with this exclusive alumni celebration in honor of our graduates!

All graduates and families who are attending the 2023 WGU Commencement in Washington D.C. are invited to join us for the Alumni Celebration at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. 

This family-friendly event is free to attend and will provide grads and their guests opportunities to connect, enjoy refreshments, take photos, play games, and dance the night away! We encourage graduates and guests to dress in business casual attire. Come for the celebration, stay for the fun:

  • Take photos in our social photo booths and share using #WGUgrad

  • Meet Sage the Night Owl!

  • Visit our affiliated partnership booths to receive career advice, refer a friend to WGU, pick up your WGU Philanthropy Cord, and more.

  • Hit the dance floor or play family-friendly games with a fun WGU twist!

  • Enjoy refreshments and an open bar. 

  • Participate in our passport activity for a chance to win a gift code to the WGU Online Store.

Contact Information

WGU Alumni Celebration contact:

WGU Alumni Celebration ADA and accessibility:

WGU Commencement questions:

Parking Information

Parking for this event will be free after 6 P.M. local time. View additional parking and direction details here.

Date: April 21, 2023

Time: 6:30-9:30 pm, ET

National Air and Space Museum
Steven F.  Udvar-Hazy Center
14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151

Schedule Infomation

To kick off Commencement Weekend, all graduates and guests will meet for the commencement  ceremonies on Friday at 4:00 pm EDT. Doors open Friday at 3:00 PM, please plan on arriving early. You and your guests will hear messages from the keynote speaker, fellow graduates, and the university leadership. Our bachelor's graduates will turn their tassels.

The Alumni Celebration will follow commencement at The National Air and Space Museum | Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Come participate in this family-friendly event with your guests, enjoy refreshments, play games, and dance the night away. Don’t forget to meet Sage the Night Owl!

The convocation  portion of Commencement Weekend will take place on Saturday. Grads will experience their own personal moment walking across the stage to be individually recognized for their degree. You will also hear messages from your college. Please note the ceremony time for your college.

Graduates, please wear your cap and gown to both commencement and convocation.

Congratulations to you all!

Parking & Bag Policies

Coming Soon


Hotel Discounts

Information Coming Soon!

Alumni Celebration in Washington D.C.

Friday, April 21

Information Coming Soon!

Convocation Keynote Speaker

Information Coming Soon!

College of Business & College of IT Graduate Speakers

Information Coming Soon!

Leavitt School of Health & School of Education Graduate Speakers

Information Coming Soon!

National Anthem Singers

Information Coming Soon!

Keynote Speaker

Nicole Walters
CEO and Founder of Inherit Learning Company

Nicole Walters is on a mission to inspire people to not only live better lives, but also leave a legacy. Known as the coach you need in your business and life, she is adept at identifying ways to turn influence into income and popularity into profits. Whether on her top-rated business podcast or when she’s dropping gems from the event stage, Walters champions the long-term payoff of intentionally pursuing purpose.

After spending more than a decade working as a sales executive at Fortune 500 companies, Walters found herself at a crossroads. While her bank account boomed, she felt unfulfilled and bankrupt of the joy and economic freedom she desired. With a plan, a strong belief in her God-given talents and a deep desire to be her own boss, Walters left her six-figure job. She sought expert help and support. Within six months of taking the leap of faith, she successfully converted her part-time side hustle into a full-time business. Since then, she has built a multi-million-dollar personal development and business education empire.


As the CEO and Founder of Inherit Learning Company, Walters specializes in business development and strategic programs for emerging entrepreneurs and established business owners. From stay at home parents to small business owners, her transformative resources help everyday entrepreneurs get richer – in finances, relationships and health. Inherit Learning Company offers insight into proven corporate strategies and business principles that can catapult barely-surviving companies into thriving enterprises. Her firm’s unique and immersive programs help business owners gain the confidence and clarity to build profitable ventures doing what they love.

Viral videos of her juggling family and fortune have racked up over 30 million views and generated coverage on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Woman’s Day and Babble. Additionally, Walters has shared her business expertise with publications including Entrepreneur, Essence and Forbes.

A relatable and authentic leader, top business conferences such as the Marketing Impact Academy, Business Boutique, ConvertKit, FinCon and more have tapped Walters to serve as a keynote speaker. Members of her audience often remark on her transparent, practical and motivating approach to both business and life.

Walters is also the host of the popular and highly-rated Nicole Walters podcast, where she doles out entrepreneurship and lifestyle tips. Each week, thousands of listeners tune in to get nuggets of wisdom. When she’s not helping entrepreneurs optimize their businesses, Walters enjoys spending time with her three children.

Commencement Ceremony Graduate Speakers

Troy Wilson

Troy Wilson, II was born and raised in New York City, and is  a product of the NYC Department of Education system. He’s  a passionate, transformational educator who believes that every child can succeed. Growing up in the city, Troy  was exposed to diversity woven into the tapestry of his schooling experience from a young age,  which enabled him to understand the importance of advocating for all children. 

Beginning his advocacy career, as a member of the NYC’s Chancellor’s Student Advisory Council, he advised various chancellors and, sharing  the student experience of high schoolers across the borough of Manhattan, helping  to enact change in the student discipline code. .  

Since then, Wilson has had a variety of roles in schools, beginning as a family coordinator, special education services coordinator, dean of students, science teacher and now school leader. His educational philosophy has been impacted by the quote by Dr. Maya Angelou which states, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Therefore, his commitment has been to always ensure his students felt warmth and love from Mr. Wilson, a self-proclaimed favorite teacher. While actively involved in completing a degree, challenges beyond his control prohibited him from completing it until he enrolled at WGU.. He completed his  Bachelor of Arts Educational Studies, Mild to Moderate Exceptionalities Special Education. Currently, Wilson is studying Progressive School Leadership at Bank Street Graduate School of Education. His goal is to ensure that every student  will be given the opportunity to pursue their dreams with the support of a transformational educator. 

Andrea Schindler

Navy spouse Andrea Schindler is passionate about teaching and has taught history and social studies all over the world from Northern Virginia to Florida to a naval base in Japan and even a few places in between.  She graduated with a B.A. in History from Georgia Southern University in 2005 and earned her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from WGU in November 2022. 

Andrea enjoys performing stand-up comedy, having toured the United States, Australia, and Japan the last 7 years. 


In 2021, she published a children’s book about parental alienation titled Where Did Sparrow Go? 

Andrea and her husband have two children.

College of Business & College of I.T. Graduate Speakers

Indranil Chakraborty

Recent M.S. Data Analytics graduate, Indranil Chakraborty, has had 15 years of IT experience in Enterprise Architecture Governance, IT Risk Governance, Application Development, and Delivery domains. He has spearheaded the execution of Enterprise Architecture (EA) activities for the Bank, including process definition, architecture, and proof of concepts (POC), resulting in a 20% reduction in application enhancement cycle time. 

The motivation to study data analytics came from Chakraborty’s involvement in data mining of Business System Data. 

“With this degree, my IT skill sets will be enhanced and open new doors in the Data Analytics and Machine Learning world.

Ronald Simms Jr. 

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Ronald Simms Jr., has been married for 23 years and has three children and five grandchildren. Ronald has held numerous professional roles and currently serves as a Health Insurance Agent with US Health Advisors. He is a pro shop operator, a former collegiate bowling coach, and has been inducted into two Bowling Halls of Fame. He is currently running for the National President of The National Bowling Association, Inc.


Ronald loves to encourage people to be better than they were yesterday.  He and his wife lead online groups, motivating others to go after their ‘better-than-right-now’ life. His YouTube channel, the Anti-Negativity Network, counters all the negativity encountered daily with real, positive content which may or many not include his love for the sport of bowling as well.

Leavitt School of Health & School of Education Graduate Speakers

Eric Miller

Eric Miller, happily married father of five – one in heaven and four alive – is a speaker, author, bedside nurse, clinical nurse instructor, runner, life-long learner, and annoyingly eternal optimist who believes strongly in empowering others on whatever journeys they embark upon.

Growing up knowing he would become a doctor, Eric took a detour into children’s ministry, eventually circling back around into healthcare – not as a doctor, but as a nurse. After obtaining his ADN, Eric began his nursing career working for Providence in his first dream job as a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse.

During that time, Eric returned to school to obtain his BSN as well as certifications in general pediatrics, pediatric hematology/oncology, and pediatric hospice and palliative care. Thirteen years later, after realizing his heart had its fill of sorrow, Eric began his second dream job as a postpartum/mother-baby nurse. During this time, he obtained his certification in maternal-neonatal nursing, and continues to care for families for over three years and counting. Recognizing he did not have enough on his plate, Eric obtained his MSN in Nursing Education and now serves as an adjunct clinical instructor at two local universities – Washington State University (peds) and Gonzaga University (OB) – adding dream jobs three and four. 

In his spare time, Eric has served as public speaker, preacher, and teacher, has appeared in newspapers and television commercials, was selected as one of 24 national riders of the 2009 Donate Life Rose Parade float representing tissue and organ donation, and recently completed his 85th half marathon in eight years, blaming his wife of 23 years for this relatively new-found addiction. In 2013, Eric self-published his memoir, “It’s Okay to Yell at God… and Other Life Changing Discoveries Made on My Journey of Grief,” marrying the story of the tragic loss of his first son Micah with levity and humor, offering practical advice for those grieving the death of a loved one. Together he and his better half continually attempt to raise their four living children without losing their sanity in the process.


Rachel Willhite

Rachel Willhite resides in St. James, Missouri, with her husband and five children and three dogs.  

Rachel worked in the banking industry for many years, and while studying business where she discovered her passion for education and switched her major. She recently began working with Phelps Health Hospital in Rolla, Missouri as a Training Specialist where she develops and trains on unique curriculum. 

Rachel seeks to live her life by the old quaker proverb, “Thee lift me, and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together.” She hopes to continually help teach and lift others throughout her career and life.

National Anthem Singer

Brittany Thoms

Brittany Thoms of Wilson, North Carolina was born into a musically gifted family and has been singing since the age of two. She is the daughter of the late Rev. and Mrs. Benjamin A. Barnes Sr. and the youngest of seven children. From churches to stages to stadiums, Brittany has shared her gift with thousands. And at the beginning of 2022, she released her debut album entitled The Interlude in which she composed, arranged, and performed every song, all while earning her degree from WGU.  

She is blessed to have a loving husband and children who have been an endless source of support and encouragement throughout her pursuit of education. Brittany recently began her career in education as an 8th Grade ELA teacher, where she is excited to mold the minds of her students thanks to all she’s learned.

Frequently Asked Questions

Commencement/Convocation FAQs

As the university continues to see steady growth, new commencement models will be introduced to deliver the best graduate experience possible. In Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas only, one large gathering with all graduates will take place on Friday (Commencement) with smaller college-focused convocations taking place on Saturday. The Alumni Celebration will remain on Friday evening for graduates and their guests.

All graduates will be invited to attend a commencement ceremony that will feature remarks by university leaders, a keynote speaker, and will recognize all graduates for completing their degrees.  

Graduates will gather by college for more personalized ceremonies. This ceremony is where each graduate will have their moment in the spotlight and walk across the stage to be recognized individually.  

For the full commencement experience, we encourage graduates to attend both commencement and convocation ceremonies as they complement each other. In addition, we recommend attending the Alumni Celebration which provides fun, food, and entertainment for graduates and their guests.

A commencement guidebook will be loaded onto the commencement app and emailed to each graduate with check-in details, parking, maps, and more.

Please arrive dressed in your cap and gown for each ceremony. Due to the number of graduates and schedule, it is not practical to change into regalia at the venue.

Graduate names will be read during the convocation ceremony on Saturday. Please see the individual commencement page for further details.  

The Friday commencement ceremony is typically one and a half hours.

Ceremony FAQs

A commencement guidebook will be loaded onto the commencement app and emailed to each graduate with check-in details, parking, maps, and much more. 

Graduates are recommended to bring up to 8 guests, but tickets are not required to enter the commencement ceremony. Please feel free to bring your extra guests. Graduates do not need to update their initial guest count with the Commencement Office.  

Tickets are not required for WGU commencement weekend events.  

Only the names of graduates who physically attend an in-person commencement or submit a video to a virtual commencement will have their names read.

Policies vary by location and venue. Please consult the commencement app for further details three weeks prior to the ceremony date.  

Please arrive dressed in your cap and gown for the commencement ceremony. Due to the number of graduates and schedule, it is not practical to change into regalia at the venue.

You can watch the commencement ceremony at the WGU YouTube channel at any point after the start of the ceremony.

The commencement photos are usually available 2-3 weeks after commencement. Those photos will be available for viewing at

Did you know that WGU Alumni have access to hundreds of discounts? Log in to BenefitHub to search for deals on flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.

Ceremony Participation & RSVP FAQs

There is not a time limit on when a graduate may walk in a commencement. Graduates may only participate in one commencement ceremony per degree program completed.

Tickets are not required for commencement weekend events.  

Generally, the commencement ceremony lasts 2 hours.

Yes, it is possible for a commencement ceremony to reach capacity. We suggest that you submit an RSVP to your desired ceremony as soon as you are eligible.

Please review the commencement participation guidelines located in the student handbook, which outlines the eligibility for commencements.

Graduates who wish to participate in an in-person or virtual commencement ceremony must complete two steps. 

  1. Submit either your Graduation Application or be enrolled in and only have your final course remaining, such as capstone, final certification, or student teaching.  

  1. Submit an RSVP via the commencement web site (available at  

To RSVP, you must have either your Graduation Application submitted to the Student Records department or be enrolled in your final course, such as capstone, final certification, or student teaching. If you don’t currently meet this requirement, wait to RSVP until the requirement is met. 

Students who are enrolled in their final course may submit an email to with "Final Course" in subject line along with desired commencement ceremony.

No, the graduation application process is separate from commencement. If the Commencement Office has granted a final course exemption, you do not have to have your graduation application submitted to walk at commencement. 

Yes, the ceremony RSVP form is a separate process from the graduation application. The completion of the ceremony RSVP form reserves your seat at commencement and generates your name card for the announcer. 

After a graduate submits the ceremony RSVP form, a confirmation email is sent to the email address listed on the completed RSVP form. Please check your junk inbox. If you do not see a confirmation email for your ceremony RSVP. Please contact us at with additional questions.

No. Once registration has closed, no late additions, including day of (walk-up) will be permitted.

Graduates may walk in one commencement ceremony per degree. As of January 2022, a graduate may participate in one ceremony per degree, either a virtual or in-person ceremony.

Photos from each commencement ceremony will be available for purchase through our photography partner The Grad Team in the week following each commencement. All photos can be viewed on their website here.

Regalia FAQs

Oak Hall Cap and Gown is the official regalia vendor (caps, gowns, and hoods) for WGU. You can place your order via the website or call 1-800-456-7623 and ask for the Web Department. The official regalia color for graduates is navy.  For visual reference, please see our bachelor’s regalia video and our master’s regalia video. 

For bachelor’s degree, post-baccalaureate teacher programs, or endorsement preparation program (English Language Learning), you should order a cap, bachelor's gown, and tassel. For those earning a master's degree or endorsement preparation program (Educational Leadership), you should order a cap, master's gown, tassel, and a master's hood.

The following master’s hoods are available for purchase at the WGU-Oak Hall Cap and Gown website:

Education - blue 
Business (all MBAs) - drab 
Information Technology - gold 
Nursing – apricot 
Integrated Healthcare Management - salmon 
Master of Health Leadership - sage green

You can order a tassel at the WGU-Oak Hall Cap and Gown website, or by calling 1-800-456-7623 and ask for the Web Department.

Yes, WGU graduates affiliated with an honor society may wear society pins or honor cords/sashes on their gowns. Teacher graduates affiliated with the WGU chapter of the international honor society of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) may order honor cords at    

Prior to the conferral of degrees, bachelor's degree graduates wear the tassel on the right while master's degree graduates wear their tassel on the left for the entire commencement ceremony.

A graduate should wear academic attire appropriate to the awarded degree. The master's gown differs from a bachelor's gown. If you already have a cap and tassel, you can order a master's gown as an individual item on the WGU-Oak Hall Cap and Gown website. Please note that the academic attire for a master's graduate includes a cap, tassel, master's gown, and hood.

WGU graduates who are veterans or active-duty military will be provided with a military honor cord. For virtual commencements, cords will be shipped to the address provided on their RSVP. For in-person commencements, cords will be picked up at graduate check-in. On your RSVP form, please mark that you are a veteran or on active duty.

Graduates are permitted to decorate their caps and wear sashes with their regalia. Take into consideration the following if decorating your cap or wearing a sash for commencement: 

WGU does not allow content on caps or sashes that is considered, in WGU’s sole discretion, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, inappropriate, profane or that might disregard another’s copyright or third-party rights. All decorations must lie flat on the cap. 

Philanthropy Cords FAQs

The Philanthropy Cord is a blue and gold cord that WGU graduates often wear with their cap and gown at commencement. The Philanthropy cord is not only a symbol of their commitment to WGU, but also an opportunity for them to “pay it forward” and help current and future WGU students.

Graduates can receive a Philanthropy Cord by making a gift of $25 or more to WGU’s Fellow Night Owl Scholarship, a fund established to help current WGU students facing financial hardship cross the finish line to graduation. To donate, graduates can text “WGUCord” to 41-444 or visit this link.

All proceeds from the Philanthropy Cord sales support our Fellow Night Owl Scholarship Fund, which helps current students experiencing financial hardships with need-based scholarships. Your donation is put to immediate use and provides help when it is needed the most. To learn more, click here.

For in-person commencements: If a donation is made more than four weeks prior to commencement weekend, the Philanthropy Cord will be mailed to the graduate. The cord may also be picked up by visiting the WGU Advancement table at the Alumni Celebration or during graduate check-in before commencement.

For virtual commencements: Philanthropy Cords will be mailed to the graduate prior to the ceremony date.

WGU Advancement, founded in 2018, is the official fundraising arm of Western Governors University (WGU). We are committed to supporting our students, faculty, and staff through our fundraising program to advance the mission of WGU. Your gifts help us to attract and retain talented students, provide student scholarships, and help our students “cross the finish line” to graduation!

No problem. You can donate to the Fellow Night Owl Scholarship Fund by clicking on this link or texting “WGUGrad” to 41-444. Every gift, big or small, makes a difference. Thank you in advance for your support.

Letter of Invitation for Abroad & Commencement Announcements FAQs

Yes, students may send an email to with the family member's full name, relationship to the student, and foreign address. Once provided, the Records Department will prepare documents containing information about the commencement and student's earned degree. These prepared letters will then be sent to the student to forward them to the correct parties. It may take 5-10 business days for the letters to be mailed to the student.

Jostens is the current provider for commencement announcements.

Graduation Application & Diploma FAQs

Visit the graduation application page in the student handbook for the most current information on how to apply for graduation.

Visit the graduation application page in the student handbook for the most current information on how to receive your diploma.